The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) has affirmed its willingness to reopen the Lee Memorial Wading Pool on the Charles River Esplanade, but more than 15 years after the facility’s closure, the timeline for this remains uncertain.
“DCR has been meeting with various groups and associations dedicated to promoting use and beautification of the Charlesbank area at their request to listen to their potential ideas for the Lee Pool area,” DCR Acting Press Secretary Bill Hickey wrote in an e-mail to the Times. “As a matter of practice with large-scale, impactful projects, DCR engages in a full public process.”
According to State Rep. Jay Livingstone, the minimum preliminary estimates for the rehabilitation of the pool and the building located on site range between $10 million and $15 million, but the facility doesn’t currently appear in DCR’s five-year capital plan.
“I think it’s a great idea to make better use of the Esplanade and offer more resources for the enjoyment of the community,” Livingstone said. “I look forward to seeing DCR’s plans and engaging in a community discussion regarding the pool.”
Meanwhile, Esplanade 2020 – a long-term vision for the state park spearheaded by The Esplanade Association (TEA) in conjunction with DCR – suggests the revitalization of the pool as a short-term measure to improve accessibility and reclaim parkland on the Esplanade.
And Margo Newman, chair of TEA board of directors, encourages DCR to explore implanting this recommendation in a timely manner.
“The Lee Pool is a prime site in park, and we need to start a conversation about what it should be and what activities and programs should be offered there,” Newman said. “It’s going to require funding and design, as well as consensus from the community, so we need to start the process.”